As winter approaches and outdoor Occupy Wall Street encampments are broken up by police or begin to seek indoor venues, several New York art spaces have recently been targeted by would-be occupiers and vandals.
On the afternoon of Nov. 21, a group of about 50 people entered 233 Mott St., where the Performa Institute leased space that housed the Performa Hub; it was the last night of the performance art biennial.
As reported by Chris Hooks in the New School Free Press, the occupiers made a mistake about what time the building closed, thus leaving themselves little time, once they had entered, to decide what to do. They couldn’t agree on actions to take and hadn’t brought provisions. After less than an hour the occupation unraveled on its own. Some, according to the Free Press, were on their way to another occupation uptown (more on that later).
Performa staff and others present say that the intruders were the same group that occupied Artists Space for 28 hours in October. The evening of the Performa invasion, performance/visual artist Marc Arthur tweeted, “Just kicked out Georgia Sagri and her friends occupying the @PerformaNYC hub.”
In the meantime, a New School study center at 90 Fifth Ave. had been occupied since Nov. 17, a worldwide day of action by OWS protestors. A banner hanging out a window read “The Zuccotti virus has spread,” referring to Zuccotti Park, the site of the original OWS encampment. A.i.A.‘s sources say that Sagri, who was also involved at Artists Space, was in “a leadership role.”
According to the Free Press, the administration, knowing the study center would be needed by students, offered the occupiers an alternate location at Parsons School of Design’s Kellen Gallery, at 66 Fifth Ave., on the condition that they leave the study center. Most departed, but a small group remained.
New School Director of Communications Peter Taback told the Free Press that late on Thanksgiving night, the remaining group vacated the study center, moved to Kellen Gallery and vandalized it, leaving extensive graffiti on the walls, including obscenities and insults such as “spoiled New School anarchists.”